The Man Who Was Poe

( 40 )

Overview

It is night and Edmund is all alone. His mother is gone. His sister has disappeared. Edmund has no one, except for a dark and mysterious stranger who follows him through the cold and shadowy city with offers of help. But who is this stranger who gives Edmund refuge? He has a mission of his own and he needs Edmund, but he tells him nothing of his purpose. Yet the stranger is Edmund's only hope of discovering the dark secrets that surround the disappearance of his family...

...
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Overview

It is night and Edmund is all alone. His mother is gone. His sister has disappeared. Edmund has no one, except for a dark and mysterious stranger who follows him through the cold and shadowy city with offers of help. But who is this stranger who gives Edmund refuge? He has a mission of his own and he needs Edmund, but he tells him nothing of his purpose. Yet the stranger is Edmund's only hope of discovering the dark secrets that surround the disappearance of his family...

In Providence, R.I., in 1848, Edgar Allan Poe reluctantly investigates the problems of eleven-year-old Edmund, whose family has mysteriously disappeared and whose story suggests a new Poe tale with a ghastly final twist.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Book Review Service
The writing is that of a true master. . . a suspenseful, thought-provoking novel that combines mystery with historical fiction. .
From the Publisher

Praise for THE MAN WHO WAS POE

"The writing is that of a true master . . . a suspenseful, thought-provoking novel."- CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEW SERVICE

". . . an intricate detective story with the lurking menace of the real Poe's short stories."-THE BULLETIN

Library of Congress Best Book of the Year
NCTE Notable Children's Book
New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee
Mystery Writers of America Best Juvenile Mystery Award nominee

Children's Literature - Denise Daley
It is Providence, Rhode Island in the middle of the nineteenth century and Edmund and his little sister are hungry. Their aunt told them not to leave the little room that they have been holed up in for the last two days, but they are so very hungry that Edmund ventures out in search for some food. He returns a short while later to discover that his sister has vanished. In a panic, Edmund runs up and down the streets searching for her. He finds a man who asks to be called Mr. Dupin. Mr. Dupin is a heavy drinker prone to unfriendly mood swings but he is the only person who has offered Edmund any help, so Edmund trusts him. Together they unravel a mystery that involves a bank robbery, a murder, and even ghosts! In addition to these mysteries there is the intrigue that surrounds Mr. Dupin and his undercover liaisons with Mrs. Whitman. As each clue is revealed, Mr. Dupin's keen senses enable him to solve all but the most important mystery; Edmund still has not found his beloved sister. The suspense and the fast pace of this well-written novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Avi is a Newbery Medal winner who has written many novels for children and young adults. Reviewer: Denise Daley
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380730223
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 499,429
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Avi

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.

Biography

Born in Manhattan in 1937, Avi Wortis grew up in Brooklyn in a family of artists and writers. Despite his bright and inquisitive nature, he did poorly in school. After several academic failures, he was diagnosed with a writing impairment called dysgraphia which caused him to reverse letters and misspell words. The few writing and spelling skills he possessed he had gleaned from his favorite hobby, reading -- a pursuit enthusiastically encouraged in his household.

Following junior high school, Avi was assigned to a wonderful tutor whose taught him basic skills and encouraged in him a real desire to write. "Perhaps it was stubbornness," he recalled in an essay appearing on the Educational Paperback Association's website, "but from that time forward I wanted to write in some way, some form. It was the one thing everybody said I could not do."

Avi finally learned to write, and well! He attended Antioch University, graduated from the University of Wisconsin, and received a master's degree in library science from Columbia in 1964. He worked as a librarian for the New York Public Library's theater collection and for Trenton State College, and taught college courses in children's literature, while continuing to write -- mostly plays -- on the side. In the 1970s, with two sons of his own, he began to craft stories for children. "[My] two boys loved to hear stories," he recalled. "We played a game in which they would give me a subject ('a glass of water') and I would have to make up the story right then. Out of that game came my first children's book, Things That Sometimes Happen." A collection of "Very Short Stories for Little Listeners," Avi's winning debut received very positive reviews. "Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves," raved Kirkus Reviews, "these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin."

Avi has gone on to write dozens of books for kids of all ages. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1991) and Nothing but the Truth (1992) were named Newbery Honor Books, and in 2003, he won the prestigious Newbery Medal for his 14th-century adventure tale, Crispin: The Cross of Lead. His books range from mysteries and adventure stories to historical novels and coming-of-age tales; and although there is often a strong moral core to his work, he leavens his message with appealing warmth and humor. Perhaps his philosophy is summed up best in this quote from his author profile on Scholastic's website: "I want my readers to feel, to think, sometimes to laugh. But most of all I want them to enjoy a good read."

Good To Know

In a Q&A with his publisher, Avi named Robert Louis Stevenson as one of his greatest inspirations, noting that "he epitomizes a kind of storytelling that I dearly love and still read because it is true, it has validity, and beyond all, it is an adventure."

When he's not writing, Avi enjoys photography as one of his favorite hobbies.

Avi got his unique nickname from his twin sister, Emily..

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



The old city lay dark and cold. A raw wind whipped the street lamps and made the gas flames hiss and flicker like snake tongues. Fingers of shadow leaped over sidewalks, clawing silently upon closely set wooden houses. Stray leaves, brittle and brown, rattled like dry bones along cold stone gutters.

A man, carpetbag in hand, made his way up College Hill, up from the sluggish river basin, battling the steep incline, the wind, and his own desire. He was not big, this man, but the old army coat he wore -- black and misshapen, reaching below his knees -- gave him an odd bulk. His face was pale, his mustache dark, his mouth set in a scowl of contempt. Beneath a broad forehead crowned by a shock of jet black hair, his eyes were deep, dark, and intense.

Sometimes he walked quickly, sometimes slowly. More than once he looked back down the hill, trying to decide if he should return to the warm station and the train he had just left. There were moments he could think of nothing better. But he had traveled all day and was exhausted. What he wanted, what he needed, was a place where he could drink and sleep.

And write. For the man was a writer very much in need of cash. A story would bring money. But of late he had been unable to write. Idea, theme, characters: he lacked them all

Short of breath, he reached Benefit Street. There, he stopped beneath a lamp post and looked south. The porch lamp of the Unitarian Church was glowing, indicating that its doors were open to the homeless. If he had no choice he knew he could sleep there. But his gaze turned north. That was where he wanted to go.

Opening his carpetbag he rummagedthrough clothing, bottles, a notebook, until he found a letter. He read it. Though he himself had written the letter many times, he still found it unsatisfactory. Still, he felt he'd best deliver it before he changed his mind.

More slowly than before, the man walked north along Benefit Street until at last, seeing the house where he intended to leave the letter, Number Eighty-eight, he paused. The door to the dark red building -- ordinary a moment before -- now appeared to him like a gaping, hungry mouth. He felt suddenly that he was looking through the mouth to a graveyard situated just behind.

Despite the bitter cold, he began to sweat. Pain gripped his heart. He felt as if a million needles were pricking him. Against his agony he shut his eyes until, unable to bear it, he turned and fled. Even as he did someone flung himself from the darkness, crashing into him, and all but knocked him to the ground.

Gasping for breath the man attempted to see who had attacked him. Seeing no one, he was seized with terror. A demon had struck. Then he saw: sitting on the pavement, equally stunned, was not a demon, but a boy.

The man drew himself up. "That," he managed to say, "was a vicious blow."

"I didn't see you, sir," Edmund whimpered. "I'm very sorry."

"I should think you would be," the man said as he brushed off his greatcoat. "You could have sent me to the grave. " With a quick step he started off, only to stop. Something about the boy's wretchedness had touched him. And when the boy shivered -- he was wearing little more than a shirt and trousers and even these were ragged -- the man came back.

"Are you all right?" he asked.

Edmund was too frightened to say.

"I asked you a question," the man said, his voice turning harsh.

Edmund attempted to reply but gave up. Instead he buried his face in his arms and began to sob.

The man knelt. "What are you doing here at such an ungodly hour?" he demanded. "Why have you nothing warmer to wear? What is the matter?" He drew up Edmund's face. When he saw how dirty, red-eyed and streaked with tears it was, he softened. "Why are you so troubled?" he asked.

"She's gone," Edmund blurted out, trying to knuckle the tears from his eyes.

"Who's gone?"

"Sis."

"Sis?" the man repeated in a shocked whisper.

"My sister," Edmund explained, not noticing the strange look which had come into the man's face.

"Gone...where?"

"I don't know." Edmund began to sob again.

"Your mother? Your father?" the question was asked with new urgency. "Where are they?"

"I don't have a father, sir. Nor a mother."

The man stared fixedly at the boy. "How long," he whispered, "have you been without them?"

"My mum left a year ago," Edmund answered.

"And your father?"

"Sir?"

"Your father."

Edmund turned away. "He was lost at sea."

"Then who looks after you?"

"Aunty Pru. And...now she's been gone three days."

"Three days!"

"Aunty told us to wait. She said she'd come back after two hours, that since I was the man of the family, it was my job to take care of Sis. But though we waited, sir -- never budged -- Aunty didn't return. It was only when we had no more food that I went out to get some bread. It wasn't far. To the saloon on Wickenden Street. I know I wasn't supposed to leave her, but, sir, there was nothing left. And Sis was beastly hungry. I had to. It had been two days!

"I did lock the door behind me. And I did come right back. But when I did, though the door was still locked, Sis was gone. Ever since, I've been searching for her. All over the city. And, sir, I've tried to get help, but no one would give it!" Edmund burst into tears again.

"How old are you?"

"Eleven."

The man stood. "On your feet," he said.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(31)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 20, 2008

    The Man Who Was Poe review english jamal holland

    The Man Who Was Poe is written by Avi, but one of the main characters is inspired by a man named Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston in 1809 and both of his parents were actors. Poe¿s father disappeared and his mother died when he was three. Poe was taken to Richmond, Virginia to live with John Allan and he soon became a drunk and a gambler. Unable to find a job, Poe wrote several poems, and then went to the army, but soon was expelled. Later he went to Baltimore, where his career as a writer began to unfold. Although Poe was falling in love with another woman, he courted Mrs. Sarah H. Whitman. In Providence, Poe had a daguerreotype made. In 1949 Edgar Allan Poe died because of mysterious circumstances. Although the main reason I read this book was because it was assigned to me in English class, as I began to read it it slowly began to become more interesting.<BR/><BR/>The setting of The Man Who Was Poe is in Providence, Rhode Island during the 19th century. In my opinion, Dupin is the protagonist. Although some that read the story my believe he is a worthless, gambling drunk, Mr. Dupin helps Edmund find a lot of the sources to help him find his missing Aunt, mother, and sister. Also I believe that without Dupin, Edmund trying to find his family would have been next to impossible. The antagonist is Mr. Ratchet. He is the antagonist because he turns out to be one that kindnaped Edmund¿s sister and mother. The major conflict, in my opinion, is Edmund wondering if he should trust Dupin or not, since Dupin is an alcoholic that cannot control himself much after he drinks.<BR/><BR/> I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read mysteries and horror. I believe that this is a must read student of American literature is because it helps students read about a famous author¿s file. I think the book moves slowly and is somewhat confusing. An example that supports my opinion from the book is how the book starts out with Edmund coming back from the store and his sister was kidnapped. Then you have to read the clues to the book and wait until the end to find out what happened to his sister, mother, and aunt.<BR/> JaMal Holland

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2008

    The Man Who Was Poe by Avi

    The Man Who Was Poe was written by Avi. Avi was born in New York City and raised in Brooklyn. His twin sister gave him his name and it pretty much stuck. If you like detective, stories full of suspense, and thought-provoking novels, then this is the book for you.<BR/> The setting of The Man Who Was Poe is in Providence, Rhode Island in 1848. Edmund, the main character of the book, has lost his sister, mother, and aunt. He gets a man named Auguste Dupin to help him find his family members. Edmund is definitely the protagonist. Mr. Rachett, the antagonist, was married to Edmund¿s mother and had stolen all her money. He also captured and killed Edmund¿s aunt with the help of a man named Mr. Peterson. There are many conflicts in The Man Who Was Poe. One conflict is Edmund¿s internal conflict, since he doesn¿t know whether to trust Mr. Dupin, who is an alcoholic, or not. An external conflict is that Edmund had lost his mother, aunt, and sister and is looking for them.<BR/> The Man Who Was Poe is a satisfactory book. I think it starts off weakly but gets stronger in the end, when the action comes to a climax. I do recommend that people read this book, because Dupin is Edgar Allan Poe, who is one of greatest American Literature writers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2008

    The Man Who Was Poe

    The book I read is The Man Who Was Poe by Avi. Avi is a very precise writer and he takes pride in his work. This book was based on the character Edgar Allen Poe who was born in Boston in 1809. Poe was married to a woman named Virginia who had died in 1847 in Richmond, VA. A reason to read is that you learn from each book. This book also used a lot of strategies to solve the problems that came like how to find Sis after her mysterious disappearance from their locked room.<BR/><BR/>The setting of The Man Who Was Poe was in the port city of Providence, Rhode Island. The protagonist in the story were Edmund and Dupin because they were solving the problems of Edmund¿s aunt¿s death and finding Edmund¿s sister. The antagonist in the story is Mr. Ratchet. Sis and Edmund were left by Auntie who went to go look for their mother in the apartment. Edmund had left Sis to go to the store but Sis was not there when he got back. Edmund didn¿t know what to do. But then, Dupin came along. Edmund didn¿t know whether to trust him or not. Later, Edmund and Dupin had to figure out the mystery of auntie¿s death. They used strategies like reasoning and discuss things like modern day detectives. <BR/><BR/>The Man Who Was Poe is a great mystery to read. I would recommend it to those who like solving problems. Using Edgar Allen Poe, one of the most famous, American literacy figures as a character made this book more interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2013

    When it comes to middle grade mystery novels, I don't know that

    When it comes to middle grade mystery novels, I don't know that I've ever read one quite as breathtakingly gripping as The Man Who was Poe. It is a tale of murder, deceit, and madness. The fictionalized Poe is a sour, selfish man that cares only for material to create a story. Edmund is a sweet, naive little boy with no one else to turn to. Together they unravel the mystery of where Edmund's mother and sister have disappeared to.

    The plot is full of suspense and kept me guessing until the very end. Everything in this book moves the story forward and is relevant in some way. While I didn't particularly like any of the characters, they felt authentic and real, as if they could step out of the page and into real life.

    I've heard of some of Avi's other books, and you can bet your booties that I'll be reading them soon!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2013

    Great

    Awesome book 5 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    HELP

    I bought this book but its only letting me read the sample. I need help to why its doing this?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    best book ever!!! a must read!!!

    I had to read this book for schoool. Because i am still in school. So first i thought the book was going to be retarted. Then i started reading then i couldnt stop! I read it one class period! As soon as you start it sucks you in and you wont want to stop reading! So i HOPE you read the book it is a wonderful book to read.EnJoY!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2008

    The Man Who Was Poe

    The Man Who Was Poe written by Avi that it¿s very interesting Edger Allan Poe was born in Boston in 1809. His parents were actors. His father disappeared and his mother died when Poe was three. Poe moved to Richmond, Virginia to the house of John Allen. When Poe was younger he developed a reputation of as a gambler and a drinker causing friction between him and John Allen. Poe moved back to Boston and published some early poems. Poe went to Boston where his career as a writer took firm hold; his reputation as a major creator of tales and poems would form to great heights. Poe died in 1849 at the age of 40 in Baltimore under mysterious circumstances. <BR/> The setting of the story is Rhode Island State Providence. The protagonist of the story is Edmund. The antagonist is Edger (Mr.Dupin). There are many conflicts in this story some of them are they can¿t find the person who took ¿Sis¿. Another conflict is that they cannot find who stole the gold out of the bank.<BR/> If I had to evaluate this book I would give it four and a half stars out of five. I would recommend this book if you like mysteries or if like to read books that you wish had another book after like a series. This book keeps me on the edge of my seat. I would stay up late at night to read it. This is a must read for students of American Literature because Edger Allan Poe was one of the great American writers. <BR/>By: Alexandria Taylor

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2008

    The best mystery book ever.

    This was an amazing book.My teacher gave it to me.I thought that people that love mystery should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2007

    A masterpiece in the Young Reader genre

    This is an excellent book. I enjoyed it from start to finish. The descriptions of Rhode Island in the ninteenth century transport you to a wonderful historic place!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2007

    Amazing.

    Avi has truly outdone himself. This book kept me on the edge of my seat, I finished it in one day!!! This is more than worth the time and money you will spend reading it. Outstanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2006

    A MUST READ FOR ALL SUSPENSE/MYSTERY LOVERS

    I could not put this book down I had to keep reading to find out whats gonna happen next...This book deserves 5 stars +

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2005

    Sweet Book!!!!!

    This book was probably the best book that I have ever read. It was extremely suspensful and the characters were very interesting by the way that they cahnged through out the story, I thought there were more details than needed, but other than that the book was absolutley amazing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2005

    Holy Pickles!

    This book realy freaked me out! I mean, I had to turn on all the lights in the house, just to read this book. It was one of the best books i ever read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2005

    Good book! A read over and over book!

    Great book for all teens and adults!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2005

    Decent to read....for my age

    After Robert Clark's 'Mr. White's Confession' I was craving another mystery/suspence book that would take me somewhere else: into the horror genre while keeping a fairly decent mystery/suspence-filled story. Avi's book does just that. He combines murder mystery with horror, painting pictures so vividly in my mind that, like any reader or writer, I played the book in my mind. I enjoyed the way it played out. The story is very well thought out. I am a big Poe fan and Avi keeps Poe's gloomy mood throughout the book->a morbid drunk flooded with images of death->which later blooms into a story for.....if you haven't read it, i suggest you pick up the book and dive into this incredibly unbelievable book that will leave you in awe and inspired.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2004

    The Man Who Was Poe By Johanna S.

    Do you like mysteries? If you do, you will love this book. The book is called The Man Who Was Poe. The story takes place in Brooklyn, New York in the year 1848. The characters are Edmund, Mr. Dupin, and Sis.Edmund had to go to the store to get some food. While he was on his way home, this old man asked him to help him. When he returned home after helping the man, Sis was gone! Mr. Dupin is the man who is helping Edmund find his Sis. Edmund even sain,'can you help me find my Sis.' The good thing about the book is that they found his Sis. Thhe bad part is that his aunt is dead and Dupin gets drunk a lot. This book is very interesting because it tells you how they figured out how Sis was missing and how they figured out who the body was. This book deserves 5 stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2004

    outstanding

    This is a great book. I highly recommended this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2004

    Astounding

    this is one of avi's best books yet full of suspence thrills and chills I would highly reccomend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2004

    astonashing

    i couldnt put this book down after i started reading it, its simply a work of art this is possibly one of the greatest books you will ever read, filled with tons of suspence thrills and chills. i would also reccamend something upstairs.

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